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SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. L-25897. August 21, 1976.]

AGUSTIN DORMITORIO and LEONCIA D. DORMITORIO , petitioners, vs.


HONORABLE JOSE FERNANDEZ, Judge of the Court of First
Instance of Negros Occidental, Branch V, Bacolod City, and
LAZALITA respondents.
SERAFIN LAZALITA,

Graciano H. Arinday, Jr. for petitioners.


Antonio L. Balinas for respondent.

DECISION

FERNANDO , J : p

The ling of this suit for certiorari could have been avoided had there full
awareness by petitioners of the legal import and signi cance of a later decision
involving the parties. If such were the case, they would have realized that no grave
abuse of discretion, no abuse of discretion for that matter, could be imputed to
respondent Judge for issuing the challenged order, 1 setting aside a writ of execution
conformably to a petition for relief by private respondent Sera n Lazalita. 2 Insofar as
pertinent, it is worded thus: "That the above-mentioned order of Execution to be set
aside is based on the decision of the Honorable Court dated September 5, 1961 in the
above-entitled case which is no longer enforceable, and executory by virtue of the
'Agreed Stipulation of Facts' entered into by the Plaintiffs and Defendants in Civil Case
No. 6553, and which said 'Agreed Stipulation of Facts' was the basis for the judgment
of the Honorable Court dated February 12, 1965. That the parties and subject matter in
Civil Case No. 5111 and Civil Case No. 6553 are the same except that the plaintiffs in
Civil Case No. 5111 were the defendants in Civil Case No. 6553, and vice-versa; . . . That
in the 'Agreed Stipulation of Facts' in Civil Case No. 6553 which was the basis of the
Honorable Court judgment dated February 12, 1965, it was agreed by the defendant
spouses Dormitorio, who are the plaintiffs in Civil Case No. 5111 that the defendant
Sera n Lazalita should be reimbursed for his expenses in transferring his house to
another Lot to be assigned to him by the Municipality of Victorias, and that the Decision
in Civil Case No. 5111 shall not be enforced and executed anymore; That by means of
fraud, misrepresentation and concealment of the true facts of the case, the plaintiffs
were able to mislead the Honorable Court, thru an Ex-Parte Motion to issue by mistake
an Order for the issuance of a Writ of Execution by making this Honorable Court believe
that the Decision of September 5, 1961 is still enforceable and executory; . . ." 3
Respondent Judge granted the relief prayed for and set aside the writ of execution, in
view of the conclusion reached by him that such later decision, arrived at as the result
of a compromise between the same parties, evidenced by the agreed stipulation of
facts, was clear proof of an animus novandi and thus superseded the previous
judgment which as a result of an ex parte motion was mistakenly ordered executed.
Such a conclusion is borne out by a study of the records of the case. Certiorari does not
lie.
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The decision in the aforecited Civil Case No. 6553, which as contended by private
respondent, a submission that earned the approval of respondent Judge, su ced for
the lifting of the writ of execution, pursuant to the decision in Civil Case No. 5111
deemed superseded, started with a stipulation of facts. Thus: "When this case was
called for hearing the parties submitted an Agreed Stipulation of Facts duly signed by
the parties and their respective counsel, as follows: '[Agreed Stipulation of Facts],'
Come now the parties, in the above-entitled case, represented by their respective
counsel and before this Honorable Court, respectfully submit the following agreed
stipulation of facts: 1. That the defendant Municipality of Victorias, is the owner of
several parcels of lands in Victorias, Negros Occidental, known as Lots Nos. 102 and
120 and 138 and 102-New, which [are] consolidated and subdivided into small lots for
sale to the inhabitants thereof; the lots were sold by the Municipality, either in cash or
installment for ten (10) years at [one peso] (P1.00) per square meter; 2. That on
December 7, 1948, the plaintiff Sera n Lazalita, bought from the Municipality of
Victorias, Lot No. 1, Block 16 of the consolidated-subdivision plan PCs-118 having an
area of Two Hundred Thirty (230) Square Meters, payable in installment at [one peso]
(P1.00) per square meter, and in the year 1958, upon full payment by plaintiff Lazalita of
the purchase price of the land, a deed of de nite sale was executed in his favor by the
then Municipal Mayor Montinola of Victorias, Negros Occidental, and thereafter a
Certi cate of Title No. T-23098 covering the property, was issued him by the Register
of Deeds of Bacolod, Negros Occidental; 3. That from February 7, 1948, until about
eight continuous years thereafter, plaintiff had been in full and peaceful possession of
the said land, and he introduced permanent and valuable improvements thereon,
[namely] fruit trees, like coconuts, avocados, pumelos and oranges, which have long
been fruit bearing, and built a house of strong materials, valued at P5,000.00; 4. That
plaintiff Lazalita, was placed in possession of the said Lot No. 1, Block 16 of the
subdivision plan of Victorias, by the persons designated by the Municipality to take
charge of the sale of said lots to the people, and from the time, he had occupied by
same, up to the present, there has not been a change in the location thereof, as
described in the Certi cate of Title covering the property, now registered in plaintiff's
name; 5. That about the year 1955, however, the other co-defendants herein — the
spouses Agustin Dormitorio and Leoncia D. Dormitorio, purchased also, from the
defendant Municipality of Victorias, their lot known as Lot 2, Block 16, of the same
consolidation-subdivision plan PCs-118, having an area of Three Hundred Forty-Three
(343) Square meters, in cash, at [one peso] (P1.00) per square meter. Immediately
thereafter, the Dormitorios, obtained a transfer Certi cate of Title known as T-18189
for their property, from the Office of the Register of Deeds, Bacolod, Negros Occidental.
However, the spouses Dormitorio, have not taken actual possession of the land, they
have purchased from the defendant Municipality of Victorias, up to the present; 6. That
on December 12, 1958, the spouses Dormitorio, brought a suit against the plaintiff
Lazalita, for Ejectment and the con ict between them was made known to the o ce of
the Municipal Mayor and the Council of Victorias, who tried to settle the matter
between the parties — Dormitorio and Lazalita. Later, a private Land Surveyor, was hired
by the Municipality of Victorias, and it was found out, according to said Surveyor, Mr.
Ceballos, that the Lot sold by the Municipality of Victorias, to the plaintiff, was
converted into the new Municipal Road known as 'Jover Street' and that the lot
presently occupied by him, is supposed to be the lot No. 2, bought by the spouses
Dormitorio from the Municipality of Victorias; and so, availing of the said discovery, the
Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental, Branch V, Presided over by Hon. Jose F.
Fernandez, rendered judgment in that case No. 5111, in favor of Dormitorio, ordering
the plaintiff herein Lazalita, to vacate the land and to pay a monthly rental of P20.00, to
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said Dormitorio, besides his Attorney's fees; 7. That Lazalita, having failed to appeal
from said judgment in Civil Case No. 5111 of this Honorable Court, brought this present
action, against the Municipality of Victorias, and joined the Dormitorios, as formal
parties, because of the value of his permanent improvements and building introduced
or constructed on Lot No. 2, Block 16, ascertained to be that, very lot purchased by
Dormitorio from the defendant Municipality of Victorias, which building and
improvements, have far exceed then, the original purchase price of the land; 8. That the
present fair market value of residential lots in the Poblacion of Victorias, ranges
between P15.00 to P25.00 per square meter and the lots in controversy, are saleable at
present, at P20.00 per square meter; 9. That the Municipality of Victorias, under the
present administration, is willing to amicably settle the case, now before this Honorable
Court, by giving the plaintiff another lot, if they could open their newly proposed
subdivision, or pay back Lazalita the amount necessary and just for plaintiff to acquire
another lot for his residence, and for the expenses of transferring his present
residential house thereto . . ." 4 Then, as noted in the decision, the parties did
respectfully pray "that judgment be rendered by this Honorable Court, on the basis of
the foregoing agreed stipulation of facts, and on such other basis just and equitable,
without special pronouncement of costs." 5 So it was granted in the dispositive portion
of such decision: "[Wherefore], judgment is hereby rendered in accordance with the
above-mentioned Agreed Stipulation of Facts." 6
grave abuse of discretion when he set aside the writ of execution is thus clearly
apparent. He had no choice on the matter. That was made even more evident in the
answer to the petition led by respondents. It must have been the realization by
petitioners that certiorari certainly did not lie that led to their not only failing to make an
attempt at a refutation of what was asserted in the answer but also failing to appear at
the hearing when this case was set for oral argument. As noted at the outset, this
petition must be dismissed.
1. What was done by respondent Judge in setting aside the writ of execution
in Civil Case No. 5111 nds support in the applicable authorities. There is this relevant
excerpt in Barretto v. Lopez, 7 this Court speaking through the then Chief Justice Paras:
"Alleging that the respondent judge of the municipal court had acted in excess of her
jurisdiction and with grave abuse of discretion in issuing the writ of execution of
December 15, 1947, the petitioner has led the present petition for certiorari and
prohibition for the purpose of having said writ of execution annulled. Said petition is
meritorious. The agreement led by the parties in the ejectment case created as
between them new rights and obligations which naturally superseded the judgment of
the municipal court." 8 In Santos v. Acuña, 9 it was contended that a lower court
decision was novated by subsequent agreement of the parties. Implicit in this Court's
ruling is that such a plea would merit approval if indeed that was what the parties
intended. Nonetheless, it was not granted, for as explained by the ponente, Justice J. B.
L. Reyes: "Appellants understood and expressly agreed to be bound by this condition,
when they stipulated that 'they will voluntarily deliver and surrender possession of the
premises to the plaintiff in such event' . . . Hence, it is plain that in no case were the
subsequent arrangements entered into with any unquali ed intention to discard or
replace the judgment in favor of the plaintiff-appellee; and without such intent or
animus novandi, no substitution of obligations could possibly take place." 1 0 Can there
be any doubt that if it could be shown, as it was in this case, that there was such clear
manifestation of will by the parties, the original decision had lost force and effect? To
ask the question is to answer it. The presence of the animus novandi is undeniable. Nor
is there anything novel in such an approach. So it was noted by then Chief Justice
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Concepcion in De los Santos v. Rodriguez: 1 1 "As early as Molina v. De la Riva the
principle has been laid down that, when, after judgment has become nal, facts and
circumstances transpire which render its execution impossible or unjust, the interested
party may ask the court to modify or alter the judgment to harmonize the same with
justice and the facts" 1 2 Molina v. de la Riva 1 3 was a 1907 decision. Again, the present
case is far stronger, for there is a later decision expressly superseding the earlier one
relied upon on which the writ of execution thereafter set aside was based.
2. Nor can it be denied that as the later decision in Civil Case No. 6553 was
the result of a compromise, it had the effect of res judicata. This was made clear in
Salazar v. Jarabe. 1 4 There are later decisions to the same effect. 1 5 The parties were,
therefore, bound by it. There was thus an element of bad faith when petitioners did try
to evade its terms. At rst, they were quite successful. Respondent Judge, however,
upon being duly informed, set matters right. He set aside the writ of execution. That
was to act in accordance with law. He is to be commended, not condemned.
3. There is no merit likewise to the point raised by petitioners that they were
not informed by respondent Judge of the petition by private respondent to set aside
the writ of execution. The order granting such petition was the subject of a motion for
reconsideration. 1 6 The motion for reconsideration was thereafter denied. 1 7 Under the
circumstances, the failure to give notice to petitioners had been cured. That is a well-
settled doctrine. 1 8 Their complaint was that they were not heard. They were given the
opportunity to le a motion for reconsideration. So they did. That was to free the order
from the alleged in rmity. Petitioners then cannot be heard to claim that they were
denied procedural due process.
WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is dismissed. Costs against petitioners.
Barredo, Antonio, Aquino and Concepcion, Jr., JJ., concur.

Footnotes

1. Petition, Annex F.

2. Ibid, Annex E.

3. Ibid, Annex E, pars. 4-6.

4. Ibid, Annex B, 1-3.

5. Ibid, 3-4.

6. Ibid, 4.

7. 83 Phil. 734 (1949).

8. Ibid, 736.

9. 100 Phil. 230 (1956).

10. Ibid, 237.

11. L-23170, January 31, 1968, 22 SCRA 451.

12. Ibid, 458.

13. 8 Phil. 569. Chief Justice Concepcion, in addition to Molina, also cited the following
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cases: Behn, Meyer & Co. v. M'Micking, 11 Phil 276 (1908); Warner, Barnes & Co. v.
Jaucian, 13 Phil. 4 (1909); Espiritu v. Crossfield, 14 Phil. 588 (1909); Flor Mata v.
Lichauco & Salinas, 36 Phil. 809 (1917); De la Costa v. Cleofas, 67 Phil. 686 (1939);
Amor v. Judge Jugo, 77 Phil. 703 (1946). Cf. Nazal v. Belmonte, L-24410, May 23, 1968,
23 SCRA 700.

14. 91 Phil. 596 (1952).

15. Cf. Piano v. Cayanong, L-18603, Feb. 28, 1963, 7 SCRA 397; Araneta v. Perez, L-16187,
April 30, 1963, 7 SCRA 923; Serrano v. Miave, L-14678, March 31, 1965, 13 SCRA 461;
Manique v. Cayco, L-17059, Nov. 29, 1965, 15 SCRA 269; Sabino v. Cuba, L-18328, Dec.
17, 1966, 18 SCRA 981; Samonte v. Samonte, L-40683, June 27, 1975, 64 SCRA 524.

16. Petition, Annex G.

17. Ibid, Annex H.

18. Cf. Borja v. Flores, 62 Phil. 106 (1935); De Borja v. Tan, 93 Phil. 167 (1953); Flash
Taxicab Co., Inc. v. Cruz, L-15464, March 30, 1963, 7 SCRA 518; Caltex (Phil), Inc. v.
Castillo, L-24657, Nov. 27, 1967, 21 SCRA 1071; Demoronsing v. Tandayag, L-27057,
Aug. 21, 1974, 58 SCRA 484; Maglasang v. Ople, L-38813, April 29, 1975, 63 SCRA 508;
Nation Multi Service Labor Union v. Agcaoili, L-39741, May 30, 1975, 64 SCRA 274.

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